ADB presents cheque for GH¢600,000 to 2021 National Best Farmer
The Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), yesterday presented cheque for GH¢600, 000 to the 2021 National Best Farmer, Alhaji Mohammed Mashud, in Accra.
This was in fulfilment of the bank’s continuous pledged to be the lead sponsor of the Farmers Day Celebrations, since its inception, in 1988.
The Managing Director of the Bank, Dr John Kofi Mensah, said the ceremony to present the cheque, was to officially hand over the ultimate prize to Alhaji Mashud, the ultimate winner of the 2021 National Best Farmer Awards, which was held at Cape Coast, in the Central Region.
He said the ADB, satisfied with Alhaji Mashud’s proposal to invest the GH¢600,000 in a broiler project, with total cost of about GH¢1.1 million and an additional GH¢500,000 for the project, decided to present the prize to him.
Dr Mensah said the ambitious move by the National Best Farmer, would help expand his farming activities and create employment for youth.
“As we have done in the past, the bank will provide Alhaji Mashud with a dedicated relationship manager, to assist in ensuring the proper utilisation of the fund. We remain committed to ensuring that the agricultural sector continues to play its critical role in the national economy”, he said.
Dr Mensah said the bank has supported the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) with GH¢100million, to purchase fertilisers and certified seeds.
He said last year, the bank approved a total working capital facility of GH¢160 million to the National Food Buffer Stock Company Ltd (NAFCO), to buy off excess produce from farmers under the PFJ.
The financial institutions, Dr Mensah said, within the last four years, has approved a total working capital of GH¢300 million to NAFCO to purchase grains under the PFJ.
The Minister of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, expressed gratitude to the adb for its support and urged commercial banks to partner government to support farmers with working capital, to enable the country achieve food sufficiency.
He noted that there was disconnect between farmers and commercials banks, leading to frustrations in accessing credit facilities, to improve businesses.
“This is the time to support government’s efforts in attempts to achieve food sufficiency towards developing all aspects of the agriculture value chain,” Dr Akoto said.
He said that despite the global food price increase amidst COVID-19, government continued to adopt proactive measures, to overcome challenges.
The minister stated that “3.2 million farm households would be supported to produce more national best farmers, to ensure that people especially the youth venture into commercial agriculture through the PFJ initiative.”
He expressed worry about the lack of interest of some commercial farmers to take advantage of government flagship programmes to increase production.
Dr Akoto said over $500,000 have been spent on fertiliser subsidies and seedlings, to boost agriculture through the flagship programmes.
Alhaji Mashud commended the bank and Ministry of Food and Agriculture for supporting him, and gave the assurance that the money would be used to improve his agricultural activities.
BY LAWRENCE VOMAFA-AKPALU